On April 16, 2018 the DeKalb County School Board voted 4-3 along a north-south split to place the new Cross Keys High School at the old Briarcliff High School site near Adams Stadium on North Druid Hills Road. This location is actually outside of the Cross Keys district and would require all of the 1316 students (current enrollment) to commute across the busy and congested Interstate 85 and Briarcliff Road intersections twice daily. All three of the school board members that represent areas directly affected by this move voted against the Briarcliff HS location.
This takes the Cross Keys HS out of the community and further limits student participation in after school enrichment such as tutoring opportunities, clubs, and athletics. For the current Cross Keys HS location, there are 26 school bus routes that are required to deliver the students safely on a daily basis. Locating the new Cross Keys HS east of I85 ensures that there will be no safe walk or bike to school options. Virtually all students within the Cross Keys HS district will have to either take the bus or be driven. Navigating this many school buses across the I85 - North Druid Hills Road and Briarcliff Road - North Druid Hills Road interchanges will only make an awful traffic situation worse.
Making matters worse is the relocation of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to that same I85 and North Druid Hills Road interchange. It has been estimated that when the hospital opens there will be an additional 14,000 cars using that intersection on a daily basis.
CHOA Opening Hospital at I85 and North Druid Hills Road
WSB recently ran a story on the effect of this decision on the Brookhaven community
Brookhaven passes resolution asking DeKalb Schools to keep Cross Keys High School in city
Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst
“I know there is a way to get this done, there are many different ways to get this done, we just need a willing partner with the school system to do it,” he said. “I believe we can help them in any way to mitigate both the economics and social justice aspects of this.”
Revisiting this decision and building Cross Keys HS along the Buford Highway corridor would restore the school to its district as well as demonstrate that the focus is on student learning, enrichment, and community. Some of the other proposed sites within Brookhaven are shown in the article below.
Redistricting Lakeside HS
Additionally, the proximity between the Briarcliff/Cross Keys HS and Lakeside HS would also likely result in redistricting in order to re-balance the attendance zones. Previously, the DeKalb County leadership had estimated that 150-250 students from the Sagamore Hills ES or Oak Grove ES would be redistricted from Lakeside HS to the new Cross Keys HS. The fear of being redistricted out of the Lakeside HS district was one driving force behind the initial acceptance of the expansion plans at Lakeside HS before the extent of the logistical concerns came to light.
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has recognized the logistical and educational problems with the DCSD administration's plan and unanimously opposed expansion of Chamblee Charter HS, Dunwoody HS, and Lakeside HS. They have unanimously passed a resolution urging the DeKalb County School Board to reconsider and build a new high school to serve Doraville.
- This would be a forward looking and cost neutral alternative solution to constructing the additions at Chamblee Charter HS, Dunwoody HS, and Lakeside HS. Based on DeKalb County School District enrollment projections for 2022, each school would be close to 100% capacity as soon as the additions are complete!
- The additional capacity would provide a better infrastructure that is more flexible and able to accommodate future growth while re-balancing attendance zones and minimizing student travel time and busing expenses.
- Building a Doraville High School would enhance the Doraville community and allow for a clean slate approach in terms of academic, athletic, and extracurricular facilities coupled with the opportunity to design innovative and attractive programs to complement them.
- The educational experience of all students would be enhanced by relief of overcrowding at the Chamblee, Dunwoody, and Lakeside HS campuses.
- The student experience would be enhanced by allowing them to attend neighborhood focused schools close enough to their communities to feel a part of their community, take advantage of before and after school academic support programs and extra-curricular activities, and spend less time commuting. Better neighborhood access will promote more community support and long term investment.
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
Lakeside High School Expansion - a need for better not bigger
What does a 750-seat expansion of Lakeside High School look like? And how will it impact you? Authored by Kay Colson, Barbara Arne, and Debbie Miller.
In May 2016, DeKalb County taxpayers approved a 1% tax increase (E-SPLOST V Project), by a record-setting margin, to fund school improvements. In December 2016, the Board of Education approved the superintendent’s recommendation for 605 SPLOST projects at a cost of $561M although there was community input from across Regions 1 and 2 of the school district to delay the vote on the category related to new facilities and additions. This category includes $66M for expansion to 3 existing high schools (Lakeside, Dunwoody and Chamblee) to relieve overcrowding in the district’s northern Regions 1 & 2.
For our community, this means $26M will be spent to add 750 seats to the LHS campus, bringing its capacity to 2,500+ with projected enrollment of 2600+. Expansion will include a (quote) “38-classroom addition and necessary core space and additions and/or parking spaces ...” (quote), including a multi-story parking garage at the corner of Oak Grove and Briarcliff. This work is scheduled for completion in June 2022.
We are concerned with this decision. It is a bad plan for the kids, school and community. We have contacted the Board of Education to ask them to reconsider.
This rendering which was “architect reviewed” is not the final design for the expansion but was used by DCSD to demonstrate that the proposed capacity addition is conceptually feasible and was used to establish a cost estimate for planning purposes. The architectural firm that has been selected to design the plans which will be used is Perkins + Will which is not the firm that did the above rendering.
What issues have we raised and how have we raised them?
10/31/17 Letter to Superintendent R. Stephen Green and Board of Education Members DeKalb County School District
Sent from Barbara Arne, Kay Colson, Debbie Miller and list of other concerned citizens, defining the issues and requesting the BOE to place all currently planned actions on hold in order to listen to our community’s concerns and reopen discussion on the best course of action.
- Lakeside High School (LHS) student population has already been increased to its breaking point in its current location. It is already over capacity and projected to be, once again, over capacity when this expansion is complete.
- Too few citizens, directly impacted by these decisions, are fully aware of what was decided on their behalf.
- The DeKalb County Commissioners are in unanimous disagreement with this decision because infrastructure issues have not been considered.
- The DeKalb County School District’s vision “to inspire our community of learners to achieve educational excellence” will not be supported by this decision.
- Neglected watershed, fragile ecosystem, and flooding can no longer be ignored.
11/6/17 BOE Monthly Meeting
Presentations describing the concerns were given by Debbie Miller, Kay Colson, Ed Ewing, Kenneth Lippe, Mike SanFratello, and Angela Maki.
12/11/17 Meeting with DCSD Operations
In response to our October and November activities, we were invited to attend a 1- hour meeting with DCSD Operations. Debbie Miller, Kay Colson, Ed Ewing, Barbara Arne, and Angela Maki met with Joshua Williams, Dan Drake, Trenton Arnold, and Richard Boyd. We provided facts, photos and videos to support our concerns. The response was disappointing.
- We would have to bring more hard facts (data) to them in order to be taken seriously. Is that our job ... or theirs?
- They were willing to expedite their process, i.e., Request for Quotes (in order to select the architect and proceed with due diligence to determine if plan is feasible) and organization of Construction Advisory Committee (CAC).
1/4/18 Interested Citizen Meeting
Katie Bell (preliminary CAC chair) brought 16 citizens together to discuss the issues. There were multiple attendees who have experience with DCSD and others that included architects and engineers, who all expressed concern that the BOE decision process is flawed. There was agreement around the table that leading with Safety would be the wisest approach.
1/12/18 Letter to DCSD Operations
Those attending the December 11th meeting with DCSD sent a confirmation of our understanding of the next steps and expressed concern that the defined feasibility approach (using the “architect who wins the bid”), was faulty because 1-What incentive would the winning bidder have to be objective? and 2-Additional experts would be needed to cover infrastructure (such as traffic impact) and watershed issues.
2/7/18 Lakeside High School Council Action
Voted unanimously to oppose expansion of any kind on current physical site.
3/2/18 Meeting with Dr. Green and DCSD Operations
Katie Bell (preliminary CAC chair), Danielle Goselin (LHS PTA President), Quintina Robinson (Member LHS School Council), Debbie Miller (Community Member) met with Superintendent R. Stephen Green, Area Superintendent Trenton Arnold, COO Joshua Williams and Executive Director Operations Dan Drake. We were encouraged to hear some movement on bringing in additional experts and considering alternatives.
Katie Bell explained LHS School Council opposes, by unanimous vote, the proposed expansion.
Dr. Green requested, and the group discussed alternative solutions.
Joshua Williams advised that the DCSD needed more experts to assess the situation and provide data to determine if the project is feasible. Katie Bell agreed data is important.
Josh Williams advised that the RFQ process and formation of a CAC would proceed on the accelerated schedule as planned after the December meeting.
Dan Drake suggested that other options be explored simultaneously so that, in the event the current plan is not feasible, the school system administration will be prepared.
Katie Bell, along with the PTA and LHS School Council representatives, agreed to work with the Facilities and Operations Department to explore other solutions.
There was no discussion as to who else would be involved or how communication with the community would be ensured.
What Are Our Conclusions?
- The LHS property is too small and the 1960’s facility is ill equipped to handle 2,500+ students, posing a public safety threat, negative impact on instruction, and extreme limitations to vital extra-curricular and support opportunities for all students.
- While pursuing both the RFQ and alternatives simultaneously sounds promising, in reality the CAC serves in an advisory only capacity. We are concerned, as we go down this road, that the school community will be asked to compromise to make the short-term decision work, regardless of the impact on the LHS student experience.
- There are many alternative solutions available, including new construction and re-purposing other existing facilities, that could ensure a safe and effective long-term solution.
- Our job, as concerned citizens, is to be proactively vocal and to push all of our public officials to pursue the solution that best serves our students and our community.
Need more Information? All documentation, studies and full text of letters are available.
For additional materials to support the identified concerns, please contact us using the Contact page.
Want to add your voice to push our public officials to choose a better solution?
Send your feedback to:
Dr. R. Stephen Green, DeKalb County School District Superintendent, RSGreen@dekalbschoolsga.org
Dr. Michael A. Erwin, District 3, BOE Chair, email@example.com
James L. ‘Jim’ McMahan, BOE Commissioner District 4, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Drake, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Daniel_Drake@dekalbschoolsga.org
Trenton Arnold, DCSD Regional Superintendent, email@example.com
Richard Boyd, DCSD Design and Construction Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Damian Bounds, Lakeside High School Principal, Damian_Bounds@dekalbschoolsga.org
Mike SanFratello, Lakeside High School Council Chair
Lakeside High School Cluster Summit
Julie Dasher, Lakeside High School PTA Co-President, Lakesidevikings@gmail.com
Laura Morse, Lakeside High School PTA Co-President, Lakesidevikings@gmail.com
Jeff Rader, DeKalb County Commissioner District 2, email@example.com
Allyson Gevertz, BOE Member Elect District 4, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education
Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris
Virtual Back-to-School Town Hall, Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m.
EducateDeKalb and Restore DeKalb recently met together with our new Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris to discuss her new arrival and needs of the DCSD. In keeping with her comments about connecting with county officials and our request that she remember the cities within DeKalb, she is collaborating with Dunwoody’s mayor in an upcoming town hall. Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch will host a virtual back-to-school meeting with DeKalb County School District Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris Thursday, August 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will focus on back-to-school plans, virtual learning and COVID-19 safety protocols.
The Thursday, August 13 virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. will be streamed on
Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/CityofDunwoody/videos/?ref=page_internal
Residents can email questions in advance to email@example.com
Watson-Harris started her position with DCSD on July 1, 2020
https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/06/18/dekalb-county-school-board-hires-new-superintendent/ and immediately jumped into creating a COVID-19 reopening plan https://www.reporternewspapers.net/2020/07/14/dekalb-county-schools-to-delay-start-date-use-remote-learning-until-covid-19-spread-slows/ for the district. DCSD delayed its start date until August 17 and will use remote learning until further notice. The DeKalb County Board of Education will re-evaluate the COVID-19 safety risk of students and staff returning to school at each monthly meeting.
Here is the link to full information about next week’s town hall:
Sneak Peak - Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris's 100-Day Entry Plan
Breaking News May 11, 2020
DCSD Board of Education votes 4-3 against hiring Rudy Crew to be the next Superintendent.No Votes - DaCosta, Erwin, Jester, MorleyYes Votes - Gevertz, Orson, Turner
"The vote was a foregone conclusion. "
"Dr. Crew received rave reviews. We understood that as high-profile and longtime leader, he had a controversial past," said board member Allyson Gevertz
"At that point, I realized the problem was not Crew; it was the judgment of the DeKalb school board. If they examined the same facts that most of us did and weren't troubled, they were lost in a fog."
April 27, 2020 (updated 5/1)
Subject: Dr. Rudolf F. Crew, Sole Finalist for DSCD Superintendent
To all Lakeside High School and Educate DeKalb Supporters,
After working for five months with an expensive search firm to hold multiple public input sessions and find 68 candidates, the DCSD Board of Education has operated behind closed doors and narrowed the decision down to one option. Last week the BOE voted 6-1 to select Dr. Rudolf F. Crew as sole finalist for DCSD superintendent. Dr. Crew is expected to sign a contract with the school district in May and formally assume the superintendent’s position on July 1, 2020. Superintendent Ramona Tyson will continue to lead the District until Dr. Crew takes the role of the DCSD Superintendent and has agreed to stay on for several months as a consultant to assist with an orderly transition.
Georgia law requires school districts to give a minimum of 14 days for public input before finalizing an agreement with a new superintendent. The district has scheduled virtual town hall meetings on Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. We encourage you to participate in these meetings. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 678-676-0722. The deadline for submitting questions is by noon on Tuesday, April 28. The town halls will be available to view live online at https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/communications/dstv and via broadcast at DSTV 24 available within DeKalb County on Comcast cable television.
Every DeKalb County resident has the opportunity to submit questions in advance of these virtual town hall meetings. During each of these virtual meetings, the community will hear from the finalist regarding what he envisions for the District and his responses to selected questions asked.
There has been much written about Dr. Crew’s career and most information is easily obtainable through news archives, social media and public records. We provide a selection of this for your benefit in considering your viewpoint on his candidacy. We urge you to take the time to read the items below and send questions or concerns for the public meetings if you choose to do so. Questions must be submitted by emailing email@example.com or calling 678-676-0722 by noon Tuesday, April 28.
Alternatively, feel free to reach out to the BOE members (see contact information below), ask questions and express your opinions. You have until Thursday, May 7 when the 14-day waiting period for public input expires.
BOE member contact information:
Mrs. Ramona Tyson, DeKalb County School District Superintendent, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Marshall D. Orson, BOE Chair, District 2 Commissioner, email@example.com
*Mrs. Vickie B. Turner, BOE Vice Chair, BOE District 5 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
+Mr. Stan O. Jester, BOE District 1 Commissioner, email@example.com
*Dr. Michael A. Erwin, District 3 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Allyson Gevertz, BOE District 4 Commissioner, email@example.com
Mr. Diijon DaCosta, BOE District 6 Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Dr. Joyce Morley, BOE District 7 Commissioner, email@example.com
*Up for re-election Fall 2020
+Not running for re-election
AJC (May 1, 2020) - "DeKalb residents protest against schools superintendent selection"
“Here we have an historically ineffective board that seems intent on insulting our intelligence by bringing in a guy who has a host of the exact problems that makes this board ineffective”
Termination of Contract of Superintendent Rudolf Crew, Miami Dade School Board (July 30, 2008) – “Gross Negligence …. Incompetence … Insubordination … Willful Neglect of Duty”
Decaturish (April 30, 2020) - "A personality like Rudy Crew can easily run roughshod over the district's employees and school board, creating crises of accountability that undermine the public's trust in the county's schools."
"Honestly as a reporter, I should be thrilled about this hire. If Crew’s history is any indication, I won’t have any shortage of things to write about. As a parent who wants his son to graduate from the county’s schools, I am concerned that Crew would be a step backward and would exacerbate the problems that already exist within the district."
Medgar Evers College Student Government Association (petition started November 2019) – "Rudy Crew is an absentee president - He hardly shows up for work (he sends a video) and when he does, he leaves within a couple of hours - is he out fundraising? Probably not, since we have a negative balance in our budget.”
NY Daily News (July 1, 2019) – “Sylvia Kinard, the former chief diversity officer at Medgar Evers – and ex-wife of CUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Bill Thompson – filed a discrimination suit against Crew, claiming he berated, physically intimidated, and fired her after bristling at her handling of a personnel dispute.”
Anna Hill Educate Dunwoody FaceBook page regarding Medgar Evers Audit (June 30, 2018)– “Tax levy funds used to buy $32,421 for Rudy Crew’s home; the use of these funds were ‘improper’ and ‘not used for their intended purpose’.” These accounts consist of taxpayer dollars, such as monies collected for tuition and fees.”
St. Louis American (September 18, 2008) – “Superintendent Shuffle - Rudy Crew ‘used the proverbial cloak to hide his shenanigans and refused to cooperate with requests for transparency.’"
The Oregonian (July 16, 2013) – “Oregon's departed chief education officer, Rudy Crew, billed the state for thousands of dollars of personal travel expenses, took six weeks of paid vacation and tried to get the state to pay for perks such as first-class plane tickets.”
Miami New Times (August 2, 2007) – “Now the school system faces a series of lawsuits and other controversies related to his (Rudy Crew) autocratic behavior, which could cost taxpayers big."
Criminal Justice (September 16, 2006) – Allegation of 2006 rape cover up at Miami-Dade County Schools
New York Times (September 17, 1997) – Allegation of 1997 gang rape cover up in Queens
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 23, 2020) – DCSD's Marshall Orson - "Our overriding goal was to make this an open and transparent process”, AJC "It was anything but (transparent)"
Fact Checker (April 23, 2020) – “In January this year, DeKalb Schools hired public relations firm Porter Novelli for $200K to assist with the national superintendent search. One of their stated directives is to ‘Assist with building excitement about and confidence in the candidate selected.’”
Kay Colson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The crowd was overflowing at last night's DCSD School Board Meeting with unified opposition to DCSD's proposed GO Bond. There were more calls for a FORENSIC AUDIT to help determine how previous funds were spent and managed. Please click on the video link for last night's news piece.
LHS E-SPLOST and “GO” Bond Public Meeting / Community Input Session
7pm, Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at Lakeside High School
The DCSD will explain the $100M overrun and seek your input on which projects should be expanded / deleted / added, as well as your viewpoint on the GO Bond options. Although DCSD will tightly control the information and choices they offer, this is an important opportunity to learn about and speak out on the additional $100M to $265M in tax dollars now being requested!
There were 185 attendees at the Chamblee meeting last week …Let your voices be heard too!
Overcrowding at Lakeside High School (LHS) has become a crisis. As part of a larger overcrowding problem in its northern areas, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) Board of Education (BOE) has approved physical plant expansions to 3 high schools in those areas (of which one is LHS) in order to increase the student population at each school. Based on continued growth in the area and DCSD predicted enrollment, this expansion would not solve current overcrowding problems.
LHS was built in the 1960’s and expanded in 2012 to accommodate 1,796 students (SPLOST III). As of October 2017 LHS enrollment was 2,165 and growing. The $26M planned expansion will add 750 seats to the LHS campus, bringing its capacity to 2,500+ students with projected enrollment of 2,600+. For many reasons, we believe this “approved solution” will potentially damage the LHS student experience, academic achievement, and extracurricular activities, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
LHS has a strong heritage of academic excellence, but over the past 10 years its performance trajectory has steadily declined. The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners are urging the DCSD to halt this LHS expansion and develop a comprehensive, informed strategic plan for the whole district before building or expanding any existing facilities. We believe a better plan would more effectively include building a new high school and reducing the LHS student population to 1,796, which it was expanded to accommodate in 2012.
12 Reasons Lakeside High School Should Be BETTER, not Bigger
- The DeKalb County School District plans to address overcrowding at Lakeside High School by adding 750 additional seats, bringing the enrollment capacity to over 2,500 students by 2022.
- The proposed plan attempts to turn a small, circa-1960, neighborhood high school, that was built for only 1,200 students, into a mega-school for 2,500+. Instead of building a large, modern, state-of-the-art school, they will just add 38 classrooms and expand portions of the kitchen, cafeteria, and media center. A school of 2,500 requires a minimum campus size of 45 acres per state DOE standards. The Lakeside HS site contains 33 acres.
- The proposed plan does nothing to address or enhance the overall safety and educational opportunities of Lakeside students, beyond temporarily eliminating portable classrooms.
- DCSD’s own published enrollment projections predict that Lakeside will be overcrowded again after the addition is completed in 2022.
- Much of the original building and previous 2012 addition will be entirely untouched, despite the addition of 750+ students. The unimproved portions of the campus will include the original classrooms, gymnasium, swimming pool, hallways, and stairwells (which were built in the early 1960s to accommodate half as many students), locker rooms, restrooms, auditorium, visual and performing arts classrooms, technology labs, office and counseling suites, ROTC and culinary arts classrooms, storage, workrooms, and utility spaces.
- The additional 750 students and staff will result in increased traffic on our already congested two-lane roads, which may lead to longer emergency response times and extended commute times for area residents, LHS staff, and students.
- Frequent traffic congestion has a negative impact on student achievement, as students arrive late to school and miss portions of first period instruction. Buses leaving Lakeside may also be late transporting students to Henderson Middle School.
- Traffic congestion will likely be worse in the near future due to the development of CHOA at Druid Hills Road. The area has seen a growth in traffic over the past 2-3 years with the addition of the Globe Academy Upper School at Briarcliff UMC. While they are exploring options to decrease their impact on traffic, the roads and lights surrounding the area are the purview of the county. If DCSD adds 350-400 more students, it will multiply the problems the area will face.
- The Dewberry Study revealed that our fragile watershed cannot accommodate additional development in the region. The intersection of Briarlake and Briarcliff Roads floods after heavy rains and prevents safe passage for pedestrians, school buses, and emergency response vehicles. This poses a public safety threat for neighborhood residents, students, faculty, and school administration.
- The size of the Lakeside's attendance zone, stretching from DeKalb’s border with Gwinnett County near Pleasantdale Road all the way down to neighborhoods beyond Clairmont Road, is simply too large to allow all students to participate in the many opportunities that exist before and after school hours at Lakeside, such as clubs, athletics, music, drama, volunteering, and tutoring.
- The proposed multi-story parking garage near Oak Grove Road and relocation of the girls’ softball field to the wooded area behind the school will cause many more problems than they will solve.
- The DeKalb County Commission, Lakeside School Council, as well as many concerned citizens, have all asked DCSD, Superintendent Green, and the Board of Education to find a better solution to overcrowding at Lakeside High School.
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Lakeside Better Not Bigger
Educate DeKalb Education